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Hour-by-hour updates: Florida begins recovery after Hurricane Ian

This was a live event page during the preparation, landfall and initial recovery of Hurricane Ian as it landed in Florida.

Updated, Friday, Sept. 30 at 2:20 a.m.:
WUFT's Julia Haley shot this footage in her hometown of St. Augustine, Florida, on Thursday, Sept. 29, around 7:30 p.m.

Updated, Friday, Sept. 30 at 2:05 a.m.:
WUFT's Julia Haley captured this video of wind gusts up to 40mph from the remnants of Hurricane Ian at the Veterans Memorial Bridge Causeway Park in East Palatka on Thursday, September 29, 2022, around 7 p.m.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 10:36 p.m.:
WUFT's Amy Galo filed this report on damage in the Tampa Bay area earlier today.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 8:20 p.m.:
Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed that 2.6 million Florida residents are without power, as of 6 p.m. today. The state is working to help health care centers regain running water, DeSantis said. Fuel is being delivered via Port Tampa and Port Everglades. More than $10 million have been donated to The Florida Disaster Fund so far. Despite Lee County Sheriff and President Biden's suggestion that the casualties are massive, the governor has not estimated the death toll. DeSantis says that the state is currently assessing the number of displaced residents.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:13 p.m.:
UF President Kent Fuchs confirms that the university will resume normal operations on Saturday.

As we prepare to return to normal campus operations on Saturday, @PresidentFuchs extends heartfelt sympathies to all who are experiencing losses or challenges as a result of #HurricaneIan : https://t.co/WfMvsN0N5v — FLORIDA (@UF) September 29, 2022

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:08 p.m.:
WUFT's Mistie Webb captured this video of damage to a gas station in Clermont, Florida.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 6:14 p.m.:
Hurricane Ian has now regained strength as a Category 1 hurricane.

Ian regains hurricane strength over the Atlantic as it churns off the East Coast. Warnings are in place for several states. https://t.co/tW12P2lIID pic.twitter.com/NIMW9qSEUD — CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) September 29, 2022

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 6:11 p.m.:
WUFT's Fareeha Abrar spoke to Clay County Emergency Managmement Director John Ward about the damage from Hurricane Ian in his area.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5:42 p.m.:
Myakka City resident Chase Fisher sent us videos of debris and fallen trees around his neighborhood, as well as, flooded roads around the city.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5:28 p.m.:
Lee Health has made the decision to evacuate their patients from their hospitals due to loss of power and running water. Patients will be evacuated out of the county.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5:11 p.m.:
Flagler and St. Johns is under flash flood warning until 9 p.m. tonight.

Flash Flood Warning for Flagler, FL; St. Johns, FL from Thu Sep 29 3:08 PM until Thu Sep 29 9:00 PM. #FLwx pic.twitter.com/uEQaMgf2dC — Florida Storms (@FloridaStorms) September 29, 2022

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 4:31 p.m.:
21-year-old University of Florida economics student George Cameron says he’s buying supplies in Gainesville and headed home to Fort Myers Beach.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 4:25 p.m.:
University of Florida medical school student Roger Bishop taking stock of the damage done to his Fort Myers Beach home.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 4:25 p.m.:
Flagler County officials are urging residents to limit water usage to emergency needs only so that overwhelmed sewer systems can catch up. Bunnell City Manager Alvin Jackson says there is no storage available for wastewater. The city of Palm Coast has many areas on an electricity dependent pep tank system. Other unincorporated areas are on septic systems.

Flagler County is also urging residents of Bulow Mobile Home Park, Flagler Beach Polo Club West, Bulow Woods, Seaside Landings, Flagler Beach Polo Club, as well as the previously evacuated areas off of Lambert Avenue and Palm Drive – also known as Hurricane Evacuation Zone B – to leave immediately due to expectations of significant flooding.
Putnam County is expecting to experience the worst conditions of Ian today. The area will see winds, with tropical storm force gusts, and rain.

The low areas along the St. Johns River are already in a moderate flood stage. Tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 30, with be the highest river levels, with up to four-inch surge at high tides, which is major flood levels. Dunns Creek, Federal Point, and Welaka have been seeing flooded areas throughout the morning. The St. Johns River is expected to remain high for the next 7-10 days, due to the water outflow from the rain received from areas to the south of the river.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 2:30 p.m.:
WUFT's Macie Goldfarb reports on damage from Hurricane Ian in Melbourne, Florida.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 2:17 p.m.:
WUFT's Kennedy Mason captured this video of a brick walkway that collapsed from floodwaters in the College Park area, near Downtown Orlando.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 1:55 p.m.:
Photos taken by a doorbell camera before the power went out in Fort Myers Beach. Water reached the second story of 23-year-old University of Florida grad student Shea Oxender’s house.


Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 1:44 P.m.: Images of damage from Venice, Florida, from resident Christian Fedor.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 11:59 a.m.: WUFT's Jake Reyes reports that the impact from Hurricane Ian in Alachua County was minimal and the county is ceasing emergency operations this evening which includes closing its shelters.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 11:35 a.m.:
Sumter County emergency crews are field-assessing damage from the storm. As of this update, there are about 2,700 customers without power due to downed trees that took out lines. County offices will be closed Friday and re-open Monday, October 3, 2022. Jon Kitchen is a resident of The Villages. He sent us this video. Be sure to watch to the end.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 11:30 a.m.:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urges people who want to help the Hurricane Ian disaster victims to donate money instead of donating supplies. Money helps provide the resources victims need. To contribute, you can donate here or text DISASTER to 20222

To Volunteer your time and talent, there are many opportunities available. You can register to help here.

Updated, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 11:07 a.m.:

WUFT's Allison Williams reports on Alachua County ceasing emergency operations at the worst of what is now Tropical Storm Ian passes through the region.

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 9:55 a.m.: Roughly 9% of Alachua County utility customers are without power. The outages are about evenly split between Gainesville Regional Utilities and Clay Electric customers, with each utility reporting about 5,000 outages each.

In Marion County, power outages are affecting 4,600 Duke Energy and 5,100 Clay Electric customers.

About 26% of Putnam County residents are without power.

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 9:04 a.m.:

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 8:45 a.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis is updating the state on the scale of Ian's devastation, less than a day after the storm made landfall. Watch his press conference below.

Some key takeaways from the governor:

  • Over two dozen National Guard and Coast Guard helicopters are en route to Southwest Florida to assist with search and rescue.
  • Lee and Charlotte counties "are basically off the grid at this point," DeSantis says, in announcing the scale of statewide power outages. They now stand at roughly 2.6 million statewide.
  • Parts of I-75 south through Charlotte County are reopening, but not just yet in the Fort Myers area. Reopening the interstates will speed resupplying efforts, the governor says.
  • Northeast Florida should continue to monitor for flooding this week as this "500-year flood event" passes through Florida, DeSantis says.
  • The governor deemed an earlier death estimate from Lee County officials as "unconfirmed," saying it was based on the number of several hundred 911 calls from people trapped in their houses during the storm surge, not a body count.

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:25 a.m.: President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for people in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

"Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster," the announcement of the declaration said. Read it in full here.

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5:50 a.m.:

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 4:00 a.m.:

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 10:30 p.m.: 

Just how bad did things get in southwest Florida? Veteran Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel called it the worst storm he's witnessed in over 30 years. With a curfew in place for much of Southwest Florida, we'll have to wait until daylight to survey the damage.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 9:15 p.m.: The Gainesville airport weather station is reporting sustained winds of 15 mph with gusts reaching into the low 30s. Weather is expected to continue deteriorating through the night and into Thursday.

Statewide, 1.9 million customers are without power according to poweroutage.us. The vast majority of those affected are in locations that have seen moderate to severe storm damage. The eye of the storm is currently approaching Polk County where 30% of customers are now without power. We will see numbers increase as the eye moves to the northeast. Nine percent of Pasco County customers are without power at the moment.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8:21 p.m.: American Airlines and Delta Airlines have canceled all flights to and from Gainesville Regional Airport until Friday morning.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8:19 p.m.: WUFT's Alexus Cleavenger reports on conditions in Volusia County.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 5:43 p.m.:

WUFT's Fareeha Abrar reports on flight cancellations at Gainesville Regional Airport.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 4:22 p.m.:

WUFT's Jake Reyes provides an update on shelters in Alachua County.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 2:40 p.m.:

WUFT's Amy Galo reports on Hurricane Ian preparations from Wesley Chapel, Florida, a suburb in the Tampa Bay area.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 2:30 p.m.:

Update on a shelter for people with special needs in Alachua County.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 2:20 p.m.: 
Flooding in the first floor of a Sanibel Island home. Photo taken from the second floor by the home's occupants.

Updated, Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.: 

In his 1 p.m. briefing, Gov. Ron DeSantis says 200,000 power outages have been reported in southwest Florida. Still, he considered that a "drop in the bucket" compared to what the state will see by week's end.

Watch his full press conference below.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 12:23 p.m.: Clay Electric, one of the utilities serving north central Florida, is warning customers they may be without power for "an extended period."

Due to the magnitude of the storm, members should prepare to go without power for an extended period of time. Current estimates are for the impacts to be similar to those of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Clay Electric personnel, along with help from other co-ops and outside crews, will begin restoration efforts as soon as it is safe to do so, and will make every effort to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 11:24 a.m.: Our newsroom has been reaching experts in various areas to provide advice on what to do and avoid during and after a storm. You can listen to each one below.

In the event power goes out in north-central Florida, Duke Energy is preparing at The Villages in Sumter County to get things back in order. WUFT's Matthew Bell spoke to Duke Energy Spokesperson Heather Danenhower about the utility's preparations.

When large storms hit, one risk posed is the safe storage of perishable food items.

WUFT's Matthew Bell spoke with UF/IFAS professor and foodborne illness researcher Keith Schneider about what people should do to keep safe.
WUFT · Food Safety

Downed trees and debris can be a major concern during a hurricane.

WUFT's Serra Sowers spoke with Ryan Klein, assistant professor of arboriculture with UF/IFAS, about the risks damaged trees pose to property and residents in urban areas.
WUFT · Professor Ryan Klein On Tree Risks

WUFT · Duke Energy

Updated, Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 10:54 a.m.: The City of Palatka issued warnings about areas to avoid in the coming hours.
As Hurricane Ian approaches, the City of Palatka asks residents to be safe while traveling through the roads. The following road intersections are known to flood:

  • River Street and Laurel Street

  • Crill Avenue underpass

  • Crill Avenue and Moseley Avenue

  • Golf Drive and Moseley Avenue

  • Eagle Street and N 14th Street

  • Eagle Street and N 13th Street

  • Reid Street and N 17th Street

  • N 15th Street and Napoleon Street

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 9:45 a.m.:

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8:58 a.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered warnings and guidance in a press conference. Watch it in full below.

“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” he said, stressing that people in Ian's path along the coast should rush to the safest possible shelter and stay there.


Wednesday Sept. 28 at 8:45 a.m.: 

As the outer bands of Hurricane Ian arrive Wednesday, here are the hours of certain large stores in the Gainesville area:

  • Walmart, 2900 SW 42nd St.: Wednesday 9 to 6 p.m., closed on Thursday, Friday: to be determined

  • Target, 3970 SW Archer Road: Wednesday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m, closed on Thursday and Friday

  • Walgreens, 1615 NW 13th St.: Wednesday to Friday 6 a.m to 12 a.m

  • CVS, 1515 NW 13th St: Wednesday to Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8:20 a.m.:

Find the nearest sandbag location near you.
Alachua County is reopening its sandbag operation on Wednesday: "It will not be staffed after 12 pm (noon). Residents can self-serve afternoon while supplies last. The County will leave shovels, but it is recommended you bring one, just in case. It is at Wayside Park (11855 NW US Highway 441, Alachua). Alachua County has activated the 311, Critical Information Line (or call 352-264-6557) for questions and rumor control. This number cannot receive texts. Please use 911 for bona fide emergencies only."

Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 5:55 a.m.:

Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 1 a.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 12:39 p.m.:

From Alachua County:

SPECIAL NEEDS SHELTER OPEN: In anticipation of the effects of Hurricane Ian, Alachua County has now opened a Special Needs Shelter at the Alachua County Senior Recreation Center (5701 N.W. 34th Blvd., Gainesville). Those considering using the emergency shelters, please remember that shelters are a last resort and should only be used by those living in homes that are potentially unsafe in high winds (e.g. mobile homes, manufactured homes, and others), people who live in flood-prone areas, and people who have nowhere else safe to go. Special needs shelters provide one cot per patient, not caregiver. Caregivers are asked to bring any needed bedding. When packing to go to a shelter, please bring special dietary foods and any prescription medications. Also, bring spare clothing, personal care items (hygiene, toiletries, etc.), spare eyeglasses/contacts, and identification.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 12:32 p.m.:


Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 12:11 p.m.:

From floridagators.com:

The Florida-Eastern Washington football game, scheduled for this Saturday, has been re-scheduled for Sunday, October 2nd at Noon in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Steve Spurrier Florida Field the University Athletic Association announced today. The UAA continues to work with UF, local and state officials to monitor Hurricane Ian and any potential impacts on the newly scheduled date. Additionally, the university announced Monday that classes and all academic and student-related activities, including online classes, are canceled Wednesday through Friday. All tickets issued for Saturday will be honored on Sunday. Fans with an account with the Gators Ticket Office are encourage to use their account manager at FloridaGators.com/tickets to resell any unused tickets. The game will still be available digitally on ESPN+/SEC Network+ and carried on the Gators Radio Network from LEARFIELD. A complete list of radio affiliates will be released on Saturday. Most game day activities, including tailgating, will remain the same for Sunday with the exception that there will be no road closure of University Avenue, resulting in a modified Gator Walk. Complete details for Gator Walk will be available later in the week.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 11:30 a.m.: 

From the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center:

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Ian was located about 305 miles south-southwest of Sarasota, Florida. Ian is moving toward the north near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue today. A turn toward the north-northeast with a reduction in forward speed is forecast tonight and Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico in a couple of hours, pass west of the Florida Keys later today, and approach the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area on Wednesday and Wednesday night. Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts. Ian is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Re-strengthening is expected later today through Wednesday. Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 963 mb (28.44 inches) based on Air Force Hurricane Hunter data. Visit the National Hurricane Center website at hurricanes.gov for additional forecast information on Ian. The next intermediate advisory will be at 2:00 PM EDT, followed by the next complete advisory at 5:00 PM EDT.

Updated, Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 11:04 a.m.: 


Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 10:52 a.m.: Hernando County is issuing mandatory evacuation orders for all areas west of U.S. 19.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 10:40 a.m.: Citrus County has begun issuing mandatory evacuation orders, effective Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The order has been updated to apply to Evacuation Zone A, which includes includes all low-lying areas west of U.S. Highway 19 and some areas additional areas east of U.S. Highway 19. All other areas are advised to voluntary evacuate, especially those citizens living in mobile homes, manufactured homes, and recreational vehicles throughout the county. The following shelter locations will open at 6:00pm on Tuesday, September 27, 2022: • Forest Ridge Elementary School (Special Needs), 2927 North Forest Ridge Blvd., Hernando • Lecanto Primary (Pet Friendly), 3790 W Educational Path, Lecanto • Central Ridge Elementary School (General Population), 185 West Citrus Springs Blvd., Citrus Springs • Citrus High School (General Population), 600 West Highland Blvd., Inverness

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 10:30 a.m.: Gainesville Regional Utitilies is announcing the suspension of customer disconnections for nonpayment through Sunday.

Following the University of Florida's lead, Santa Fe College canceled classes after 4 p.m. on Tuesday and the closure of campus at 5 p.m.


PK Yonge Developmental Research School at UF is also canceling classes from Wednesday through Friday.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m.: With less than 24 hours until Ian's impacts are to be felt in this region, here's a comprehensive map of nearby places to pick up sandbags.

Monday, Sept. 26 at 3:39 p.m.: Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation have suspended tolls until further notice on select roadways ahead of Hurricane Ian. The governor announced the toll suspension during a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center on Monday.

Tolls are being suspended on the following roadways:

  • Alligator Alley portion of I-75 in Broward and Collier Counties

  • Suncoast Parkway in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties

  • I-4 connector, Selmon Expressway and Veretans Expressway in Hillsborough County

  • Mid-Bay Bridge and Spence Parkway in Okaloosa County

  • Pinellas Bayway and Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Pinellas County

  • Polk Parkway in Polk County

  • Garcon Point Bridge in Santa Rosa County

You can find evacuation routes for your county here. The Florida Division of Emergency Management advises residents to keep their gas tanks at least halfway full for the duration of hurricane season to avoid long lines at gas stations. If ordered to evacuate, consider staying with a family or friend who's home is outside of the evacuation zone, but still local. In most situations you do not need to evacuate hundreds of miles away to be safe. Tens of miles can count towards your safety, and ensuring you have at least half a tank of gas will ensure your arrival to that safe location.

Evacuation Zones are issued A through F, with A being the most vulnerable to hurricane conditions. Check if you live in an evacuation zone here and see our running list of evacuation orders for more details.

Monday, Sept. 26 at 3:03 p.m.: Still topping off your hurricane supply kit? Here's a checklist to make sure you don't miss anything.

Monday, Sept. 26 at 1:47 p.m.: Hernando County has issued voluntary evacuation orders in certain areas.

Monday, Sept. 26 at 1:45 p.m.: Sandbag locations have become available in several surrounding counties.

  • From Alachua County: "Sandbags will be available at Wayside Park at 11855 N.W. US 441. There is a limit of 10 bags per person. This location opens at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Other locations and times will be shared soon."

  • From Palatka: "Sand and bags will be available on Monday 100 N. 11th Street, beginning at 3 p.m. Sand and bags will be available on first-come, first-served, self-service basis."

  • In Citrus County, two self-serve sandbag sites opened at noon on Monday at these two locations:

    • Bicentennial Park, 501 N Baseball Point, Crystal River

    • Floral Park, 9530 S Parkside Ave, Floral City

  • Self-serve sites are open 24 hours but are not monitored overnight for availability of supplies. Sand and sandbags will be provided. Citizens wishing to take advantage of the self-serve sites will need to bring a shovel. In addition, assistance will be provided at two staffed sandbag sites until 5 p.m. on Monday:

    • 4210 S Grandmarch Ave, Homosassa (Off of Grover Cleveland Blvd)

    • 7500 W Gulf to Lake Hwy, Crystal River (SR44, across from Dan’s Clam Stand)

Monday, Sept. 26 at 1:25 p.m.: With Hurricane Ian churning toward the west coast of Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference on Monday morning in Tallahassee where he urged the public to stay calm and laid out the state’s efforts to assist the population. Read the full story here.

Monday, Sept. 26 at 11:50 a.m.: Evacuations are ordered by county, so make sure to check with your county's website for further details. To look up your evacuation zone, enter your addressinto this tool. If your home does not appear in an evacuation zone, determine if you are safely able to remain in your home during a hurricane event. If you live in a low-lying area, a manufactured home, an older home, or depend on electrically powered medical devices, you may want to consider evacuating.

Hillsborough County:

  • Zone A, Mandatory

  • Zone B, Voluntary

Shelters will open at 2 p.m. on Monday.



Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org